"Madea" box-office shocker!

Hollywood discovers that older black women exist, sometimes go to movies.

Rebecca Traister
March 6, 2006 10:12PM (UTC)

There was big non-Oscar news in Hollywood this weekend, as film executives made a major sociological discovery: African-American women 35 and older not only exist but can buy enough movie tickets to make a film No. 1 at the box office!

Tyler Perry's "Madea's Family Reunion" was this weekend's top-grossing film, pulling in $13 million, beating Bruce Willis vehicle "16 Blocks" and Arctic sled-dog movie "Eight Below." "Madea," the sequel to surprise success "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," cost $10 million to make, and has raked in $48 million in its first 10 days in release. According to its distributor, Lions Gate, 52 percent of the film's audience is made up of black women over 35.


In Hollywood, a town fueled almost entirely by the desire to pull young money-spending white boys into theaters, this qualifies as the universe turning inside out. As Lions Gate distribution head Steve Rothenberg told USA Today, "That's a group that no one is catering to ... I'm not sure that Hollywood has considered it a very viable audience. But we do, and Tyler does, and obviously he has tapped into a real following."

Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

MORE FROM Rebecca Traister

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Broadsheet Love And Sex


Read Now, Pay Later - no upfront
registration for 1-Hour Access

Click Here
7-Day Access and Monthly
Subscriptions also available
No tracking or personal data collection
beyond name and email address


Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •